A typical day at work turned into anything but when a car drove through the Yumberry Bowl storefront at 13th Avenue and High Street on June 30.
There is no drive-thru at Yumberry Bowl though, so employees, customers and passersby were shocked when a small, white, four-door sedan jumped the sidewalk and crashed through the window of the new acai bowl shop.
Kyla Rhodes, a Yumberry Bowl server, was on duty when she and a coworker heard a crash. Both had their backs turned as they were preparing bowls and didn’t know where the sound had come from. When they turned around, Rhodes said, they were in disbelief.
“It was the loudest sound I’ve ever heard,” said Rhodes. “It was horrible.”
When the dust settled, Rhodes noticed the driver of the car was slumped over the steering wheel. Shattered glass and debris littered the floor of the restaurant and tables and chairs were scattered inside.
“It took a while to process what actually happened,” she added. “Everything happened super fast,” she said.
Cheri Veritch, one of the founders and owners of Yumberry Bowl, said that when she got the call from one of her employees about what happened, she almost didn’t believe it.
“Well, first of all, I was really confused because you don’t expect to hear someone say that there’s a car in your restaurant, and honestly I didn’t think it was going to be as bad as it was,” Veritch said. “I figured there was a car up on the sidewalk or something like that but, no, it was fully inside the restaurant.”
Veritch made sure everyone was okay before assessing the damage. A woman was sitting in a seat near the window just minutes before the accident, according to both Rhodes and Veritch, but no one was injured.
“Everyone was okay, customers were okay, and as far as we know, the driver was actually okay too,” said Veritch. “After that there was just confusion about how it happened.”
According to the Eugene Police Department, the driver was cited for driving with a suspended license and careless driving. EPD spokesperson Melinda McLaughlin said the incident appeared to be medical-related, although EPD could not release the full report as the investigation is ongoing. The driver was taken to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, according to EPD.
Yumberry Bowl, which has only been open at the 13th and High location since June 8, has remained open during construction to replace the windows.
The Yumberry store owners have stayed positive about what happened.
“What we’ve found is that everything happens for a reason,” said Veritch. “So even things that look like they might be a negative thing actually usually turn to have something positive come out of it.”
Veritch said community members have shown an outpouring of support for the new store after the incident. The owners have been able to make light of the situation and pointed out the irony in their “grand opening” banner waving above the busted-open storefront window.
“Once we realized everyone was okay, it was really actually kind of funny,” said Veritch. “Well not really funny, but what else are you going to do? You either laugh or you cry.”